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Title

Dr. Ronald Davidson Engages with the Question: Would We Be Religious if We Were Never Going to Die?

Document Type

Video

Interview Date

5-25-2012

Abstract

Dr. Ronald Davidson discusses his belief that humans would be religious even if we were never going to die. He reflects on his personal experience with this topic and his feeling that religions address more questions about what is happening in life than about what happens in death. He also mentions both the universality of religion and humans’ dissatisfaction with what we have, which he believes causes humans to become religious.

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Playing Time:7:20 minutes

About the Interviewee: Dr. Ronald Davidson was trained in Sanskrit and Chinese Buddhist studies at the University of California Berkeley under Drs. Padmanabh Jaini, Lewis Lancaster, and Michel Strickmann. For seventeen years before and during his graduate career, Dr. Davidson studied with Tibetans. He has taught at Fairfield University since 1990, and has previously taught at Santa Clara University and at the Institute of Buddhist Studies (Graduate Theological Union) in California. His primary area of expertise is the history of tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet, especially in the relationship of religious history to social history during the medieval period, from 500-1200 CE. He is the author of several books on these topics such as Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture and Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis: Studies in Its Formative Period, 900-1400.

About the Interviewer: Dr. Alfred Benney is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and taught courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include “how people learn”; “the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning”; and “myth as explanatory narrative”. He has published work on teaching with technology.

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